How to plan a marketing campaign

Thinking through all of the steps of your next marketing campaign will increase your success rate and ROI – and help you avoid getting through the process only to find yourself at a dead end and needing to restart. Let’s break it down into a straightforward process designed to get you to launch faster.

Start with your campaign goal

The key to an effective marketing campaign is to begin with the end in mind. Sound familiar? Presumably, your goal is to generate sales. But that’s too vague of a campaign goal. You might want to build demand for your product or service. Or generate strong leads which you can then close.

If the goal is leads, how many do you need to hit your sales goal? That depends on your close rate. Which then informs your conversion rate from your campaign, measured against benchmarks if you don’t know that for your business, which then informs how big of an audience you need to reach. The more specific you can get, the better, but absent that, sketching out your possible scenarios will focus your campaign direction. Ideally, you should develop a lead score card which gives criteria for qualifying your raw leads. 

Who’s your audience and where are they?

Once you know how many people you need to reach, you need to know who they are. That could be their demographic, job title, industry they’re in Basically, who’s your customer? And if this campaign is designed to grow your list assuming you don’t have a database large enough, it’s essential for targeting the right people. You want to reach those who need your product and can afford it. Are they on LinkedIn? Facebook? A particular community? Geography?

What problem are you solving?

You’re selling a product or service, but you need to know the pain point your solving for your customer. Highlight that and the benefit they’ll receive from you. That’s the hook you lead with.People are emotional and irrational no matter how practical your product. Know the relief you deliver for this specific pain. That’s why someone will buy.  

You need to know the single most important piece of information your customers should take away from your campaign whether they buy or not. It’s natural to want to include every magical thing your product delivers, but attention spans are shorter than  2-week old puppy. Say too much and you say nothing. All of the features and benefits are what back up your claim and can be shared on your website. 

What’s your call to action? 

If your offer is simple and people just need to order your product, your call to action is buy now, or shop now. But if your sales cycle is long and you are generating leads, are you offering a demo? A guide? A consult? In that case your call to action might be “Watch now”, “Download Now” or “Schedule now”. Sounds simple but many people develop a campaign and forget to make it easy for the customer to act. Visit our website to learn more is too vague. Think about the easiest, lowest risk action a customer can take. Then do that. 

How will you communicate your offer?

Is this an email campaign to your opt-in list? Are these pay per click ads on Google or LinkedIn? Facebook? Is this a video message or written? Or maybe both? A campaign should have multiple touch points; that’s the key to a campaign after all. Think of a series. Your customers and prospects may need to see your message more than once before buying. Effective marketing campaigns reach people in multiple areas. Think about how you can connect socially, through email, sponsorships, PR, advertising and more. Make all of these different media connect into an integrated campaign. 

How will you follow up?

Many campaigns breakdown at this stage. Leads are generated, passed off to sales and then disappear into a black hole. No one has time to follow up. No one knows how to follow up. Or maybe they aren’t as invested. It’s important that your marketing and sales teams are aligned and that you have a documented method for capturing, measuring and following up on leads. Or you’ve just wasted much time and money. Internal communication is just as important as your campaign messaging. Train your people. Think about the customer experience. 

What if they don’t buy? 

Maybe your customer isn’t ready to buy right now. That doesn’t mean they won’t be ready in the future. Think about how you can nurture your customer and prospects to keep them warm. Or maybe they’ll be more interested in a future offer. Put them back into your funnel. This is where integrated campaigns gain traction and you build a virtuous cycle.

What happens after they buy? 

Consider your entire customer experience. Create wow and delight at each stage of the process. Once you’ve made a sale, it’s an opportunity to deepen the connection by delivering on your promise. By making sure your customer doesn’t have buyer’s remorse. Think, too, about how you can help them further? What other ways can you improve their life or business? Always remember that people remember more about how you made them feel then the problem you solved. Make it matter. This connects to the lifetime value of each customer. The ROI of this campaign isn’t just on these leads and sales, but of the future sales – repeat business – you generate. Not to mention word of mouth evangelizing the great results your customer received and experience they had.

If you’ve read this far you might be thinking this is a lot to consider, and it is. But this is time well spent as it pays off in much more targeted campaigns that achieve the results you want. It’s how you spend your marketing budget wisely. It’s how marketing becomes a revenue driver rather than a cost center. In time, you’ll know your customers better – if you don’t already – and this process gets easier.

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